Contemporary still life paintings -
Todd M. Casey (b. 1979), “A World of Ideas,” oil on canvas, 20 x 30 in.

Rehs Contemporary recently opened “The Art of Still Life: A collection of still life paintings by Todd M. Casey.” The show is on view through March 27 in New York City. (Todd Casey is also on the faculty of this year’s Figurative Art Convention and Expo, October 29 – November 1, 2020, in Baltimore, Maryland.)

While the team at Fine Art Today is doing our best to give you up-to-date information about current art shows, please also check with the individual gallery or museum to confirm that the information has not changed since it was published here.
Contemporary still life paintings -
Todd M. Casey, “Country Lemons and Silver Bowl,” oil on panel, 16 x 24 in.

From the gallery:

At first glance, one may make the assumption that any still life painting is just an artist’s attempt to paint an assortment of stationary objects, and while some may be nothing more than that, oftentimes there is something much greater before our eyes. Casey highlights this dichotomy with thoughtfully developed compositions — he is not just an artist but also a visual storyteller.

Early in life Casey gravitated toward the arts and was encouraged by his parents to develop his talents further. Growing up in Lowell, Massachusetts, offered a rich historical culture that profoundly impacted Casey’s understanding of art and its meaning — he shares his birthplace with notable figures the likes of James McNeill Whistler and Jack Kerouac, both of whom are widely celebrated by the city. It was in these formative years that Casey’s appreciation for historical artifacts and stories truly began to flourish — the muse for his oeuvre.

Narrative still life paintings -
Todd M. Casey, “Another Story,” oil on canvas, 18 x 24 in.

Casey’s approach to painting, whether personal or historical, gives him the opportunity to tell these tales through the interaction of objects. Some of his work originates as an invented story, allowing his own interests and imagination to set the scene, such as in “The Entomologist.” In reflecting on this particular painting, Casey recalls his initial inspiration when strolling to the mailbox one morning and coming across a dead bug in his path.

Insects have always been a personal fascination for Casey, but this encounter brought his mind to a place of curiosity: “Who is the person that studies insects, and what might their workplace look like?” It is this unique interest in developing a story that elevates the work to another level — upon returning to the studio, Casey conceived an elaborate arrangement of specimens alongside bottles and notes, creating a unique space inhabited by the entomologist.

Contemporary still life paintings -
Todd M. Casey, “The Entomologist,” oil on panel, 12 x 18 in.

Other times Casey takes a more literal approach to his narrative, as in “Death in the Afternoon.” The inspired still life makes a dual reference the popular book by Ernest Hemingway, as well as the cocktail, which both brandish the same title. This composition is the artist’s take on what Hemingway’s desk may have looked like while he was writing. Centered in the scene is the iconic absinthe glass, with sugar cubes strewn about as if Hemingway himself had just finished preparing another glass … after all, Hemingway’s original instructions specified “drink three to five slowly.”

Contemporary still life paintings -
Todd M. Casey, “Death in the Afternoon,” oil on panel, 12 x 12 in.

Regardless of the source of inspiration, through his work, Casey encourages others to be attentive and thoughtful, to consider the greater meaning of things. His approach to narrative still life painting is to create a genuine connection with the objects he portrays, such that they exist not as independent items, but as part of something more.

Narrative still life paintings -
Todd M. Casey, “The Plan,” oil on panel, 9 x 16 in.
Narrative still life paintings -
Todd M. Casey, “Bottle with Letters, Glasses and Pen,” oil on panel, 7 x 14 in.

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